Nowadays companies and organizations are obliged to adopt and integrate the principles of sustainable development and sustainability into their business models, strategies and everyday operations. The approach of companies and organizations depends on their core operations and their key economic, social and environmental impacts and stakeholder pressures. Their efforts to be transparent about their sustainability performance and to incorporate effectively Sustainable Development Goals in their strategy and business models can receive recognition in the form of an award. However, many organizations are still in doubt about many aspects regarding Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility awards. Here, we try to answer some of the frequent questions posed by our clients regarding recognition and awards.

Q: Is there a perfect point in time when a company can start to consider applying for an award?

A: There is not the right or wrong time when a company or organization can apply for an award. The only precondition is that an organization has made at least their first steps on sustainability! There are awards that recognize the good performance of novices, first-time reporters and mature, high sustainability performing organizations.

Q: Are awards PR gimmicks or there is a certain value attached to them?

A: Even though there is a good PR attached to the giving and receiving of an award there is quite some value beyond PR attached to it, related to core strategy. During the preparation phase, an organization can notice certain areas for improvements, address them in timely manner and make an overall improvement of its sustainability performance. It can realize good sustainability performance, and case studies that worth further enhancement, communication and investment even if not used as part of an award application. An award represents recognition for the hard work of employees and is a great motivator for staff involved with Sustainability and CSR activities and therefore boosts staff morale and commitment. Moreover, an award can enhance internal communication within an organization.

Q: How do organizations choose an award to apply for?

A: Organizations need to consider the type of the awarding body and check its credibility. Τhey need to take into consideration the criteria based on which every organization is assessed, the transparency of the process followed and the reputation of judges. Companies should carefully look which aspect of their sustainability strategy corresponds to a certain area of an award (social, environmental, etc.). We now see the rise of awards focusing on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adoption. Keep in mind that is of utmost importance to choose awards that have industry recognition or credibility.

Q: What are the benefits of winning an award?

A: Winning an award can have numerous benefits for an organization. First, it brings recognition both globally and locally, and can enhance the trust relationship between the company and its stakeholders. It reinforces an organization’s expertise and contributes to its competitive advantage and credibility. Also, it rewards the organization’s choices, decisions and actions and more important, the hard work and efforts of its employees.

Q: What do we need to be aware of regarding award’s submission?

A: Do your research! Not all awards are created equal. Be sure to apply for and be associated with an awarding body that is reputable. In addition, there is a risk of greenwashing while promoting a received award and organizations need to be aware how to communicate their recognitions in order not to trigger negative publicity. Some awarding bodies organize information sessions for the applicants; do not miss them!

Q: What if I do not win the award, I am applying for?

A: When it comes to awards, we can say that it is all about the journey and not the destination. Applying for an award requires hard work and is part of a learning curve that can only bring benefits to your organization. The process of applying for an award can showcase the weak spots within the various internal processes that should be worked on so the organization can be more successful. Also, applying for the award, even if not winning one, allows your organization to benchmark itself against the competition and that would point the areas that need to be improved in near future.

The million-dollar question: Should we apply for awards?

We strongly believe that awards can boost your organization’s reputation, making you stand out from peers and competitors. Prestigious awards can give team morale a boost by highlighting team and individual achievements. If your organization is young, winning awards can signal to the world that you have become the important “player” and help to prove your credibility. If your organization is well-established, awards not only showcase your heritage, but also prove you’re active and innovative. Applying for an award, is all about preparation and dedication! Break a leg!

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

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